1952-1953 Korea Summary

HEADQUARTERS

UNITED NATIONS COMMAND

OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF

APO 500

10th March 1953

Dear Colonel Austin,

On your departure from the United Nations Command I extend to you and the gallant officers and other ranks of your fine battalion my appreciation for your outstanding contribution to the United Nations cause in Korea.

During the past year, your outstanding leadership and the battle efficiency of your command have produced a combat record in keeping with the highest traditions of Her Majesty’s Service.

Please convey to your officers and other ranks my best wishes, “bon voyage”.

Sincerely,
( Sgd ) MARK W.CLARK General, United States Army

Lieutenant Colonel M. Austin,
Commanding Officer,
1st Battalion
Royal Australian Regiment,
1st British Commonwealth Division,
BAPO 3.

DEPARTURE AND MOVE TO KOREA

Thanks must go to the Int Section, 1 RAR 1952-53 for this page
Thanks also to Nick Carter.

Monday 3rd March 1952

1 RAR vacated G Block, Ingleburn Military Camp thence to Liverpool and Central Railway Stations by bus and train. After a cut-lunch (our last meal in Australia prior to embarkation) the unit at 1220 hrs departed Prince Alfred Park, Sydney led by a Section of NSW Mounted Police followed by our unit mascot “Septimus”, our 1 RAR Band – the CO, Lt Col I. HUTCHISON DSO MC ED, then A,B,C,D, Support and HQ Coys with a detachment of 130 NZ troops. 38 officers and 848 OR embarked HT “Devonshire” on completion of our march through the city.

At 1610 hrs the “Devonshire” left No 2 East Circular Quay but, due to engine trouble, left Sydney Harbour in darkness.

1 RAR Advance Party led by the unit 21C Major DG SHARP with QM and 1 other officer and 14 OR departed Mascot for Iwakuni, Japan-by QANTAS at 2100 hrs.

Friday 7th March

Advance Party arrived Iwakuni and proceeded by water to Kure Harbour thence to Kaitaichi to prepare 1 RAR staging area.

Monday 10th March

“Devonshire” berthed at Manus Naval Base to take on 500 tons of water then sailed at 2200 hrs.

Tuesday 18th March

At 0800 hrs, Major SHARP and QM boarded “Devonshire” from the pilot boat. At 1135 hrs,”Devonshire” berthed at Kure and 1 RAR disembarked from 1300 hrs – 1530 hrs and proceeded to Kaitaichi to rekit for operations in Korea.

Tuesday 25th March
Advance Party Flt 1 led by Major SHARP with Captains CHA EAST, RB ROGERS and HT SAYERS MM and Lt EJ MULHOLLAND, W02 NITSCHKE and 14 OR departed Iwakuni by RAAF for YONG DUNG P0, South Korea.

Wednesday 26th March

Advance Party Flt 2 consisting of Captains MORAHAN, EVANS and ANDERSON and 17 OR (including Sgt GA GRAY) followed Flt 1.

Wednesday 2nd April

At 0715 hrs 1 RAR Main Body led by Major SP WEIR MC embarked on “Empire Longford” and departed Kure, Japan at 0800 hrs.

Thursday 3rd April

At 0830 hrs “Empire Longford” berthed in Pusan Harbour, South Korea where 1 RAR disembarked and proceeded at 1100 hrs by rail to the bivouac area at NAM-MYON south of Line KANSAS.

DEPLOYMENT AND COMMITMENT.

Saturday 5th April – Sunday 15th June

1 RAR began moving on 5 Apr into unprepared reserve positions on Line KANSAS (the third Line of Defence, WYOMING being the second and JAMESTOWN the front).
A Ech on 11 April and B Ech on 12 April moved to their tactical positions. During this period, 1 RAR consolidated its position on KANSAS, underwent familiarisation tactical training with elements of 25 Canadian Inf. Bde, PPCLI (Princess Pat’s Canadian Light Inf), RCHA (Royal Canadian Horse Artillery) and A Sqn 5 RD (Royal Iniskilling Dragoon Guards). The highlight in this period was the participation with 3 RAR, 1 KOSB, 16 Fd Bty RNZA, buglers of 1 KSLI (Kings Shropshire Light Infantry) and members of the TURKISH Bde in our observance of ANZAC Day 25 Apr 52. The
battalion also operated in Area 8, SANDOK.

COMMITMENT

Mon 16 Jun

1 RAR advance parties moved into Line JAMESTOWN to relieve 1 RL
(Leicesters).

Tue 17 Jun

D Coy 1 RAR came under enemy artillery fire, our first sub unit to be
engaged by the enemy.

Thur 19

Jun WANGJING-MYON, NORTH KOREA. LEFT FLANK BATTALION
Tues 8 July OF 29 BRIT INF BDE,LINE JAMESTOWN

Tue 19 Jul

At 2251 hrs 1 RAR assumed operational control of this position vice 1RL.
Earlier our MG P1 engaged one enemy thus having the honour to be 1
RAR’s first to engage the enemy in North Korea. 1 RAR came under
command of 29 Brit Inf Bde wef 16 Jun 52.

Sun 22 Jun

At 2227 hrs Pte LA ETHERIDGE of D Coy was KIA while on ambush
patrol – our first battle casualty in North Korea.

Mon 23 Jun

A Coy at 0215 hrs secured a SL for B Coy 1st Bn, The Welch Regt who
attacked Hill 227 above A Coy 1 RAR’s position.

Wed 2 Jul

Op “BLAZE” a company attack made by A Coy 1 RAR and led by the OC
Major DS THOMSON commenced at 0900 hrs. No enemy PW was taken.
Flame throwers were used in the enemy positions.
Our Casualties:­
A Coy 2 KIA, 1 DOW, 25 WIA
B Coy 2 WIA
Spt Coy 5 WIA
HQ Coy 1 KIA – 1 WIA

Tue 8 Jul

1 BW (Black Watch) relieved 1 EAR at 2400 hrs. During this period 1
RAR maintained agressive patrolling and raiding. The enemy subjected
the battalion to heavy shelling and mortar bombardment;at one stage D
Coy was convinced the enemy were using a new type of projectile which
turned out to be discarded heating elements and lids of British Army souptins issued to 1 RL before us and blown up during normal shelling.

Our Battle Casualties Suffered:
KIA 4
DOW 1
WIA 38
TOTAL 43

The unit bivouaced for a days’ rest.

Mon 9 Jul The battalion commenced relieving 1 KOSB(Kings Own Scottish Borderers) patrols.

Tue 10 Jul

– NAECHON, NORTH KOREA, RIGHT FLANK BATTALION
Tue 25 Sept OF 28 BRITCOM INF BDE, LINE JAMESTON.

Tue 10 Jul

1 RAR assumed operational control of the NAECHON area from 1
KOSB at 0048 hrs and reverted back to being under command of 28
Britcom Inf Bde. 3 RAR on our Left and 1 BW on our Right.

From 2300 hrs 12 Jul – 0100 hrs 13 Jul 52, 1 RAR was subjected to
heavy shelling by the enemy – 400 (+) rounds fell in our position.

Intensive patrolling continued by us despite heavy flooding rain. 114
bunkers collapsed, one accidentally killing Pte KENDRICK of D Coy
on 27 Jul 52 by suffocation. 46 bunkers were condemned as unsafe.
Elements of 1 RAR involved in improving reserve positions in the
PINTAIL bridge area over the IMJIN. On 30 Jul 52, TEAL bridge
closed leaving PINTAIL the only one available to the Western Front.

Mon 6 Aug

Friendly aircraft hit by enemy ground fire, pilot
parachuted but drifted into enemy lines too close to extricate him.

Thu 23 Aug

At 0230 hrs our Aslt Pnr P1 fencing party led Capt PJ GREVILLE was
ambushed by a patrol of 12 enemy resulting in our casualties of 2 MIA
(later confirmed taken PW) – Capt GREVILLE & Pte CONDON – 1
KIA and 3 WIA.

Fri 14 Sep

A patrol led by Lt PN CLIFF made contact with the enemy resulting in
our first enemy being taken POW. (a Chinese) Peter CLIFF was KIA
leading another night patrol 22 Sept 52.

Tue 25 Sep

At 0100 hrs 1 DLI (Durham Light Infantry) relieved 1 RAR in the
NAECHON position.

ENEMY ARTILLERY ACTIVITY IN OUR AREA

SHELLS 1959
MORTAR BOMBS 2865
UNIDENTIFIED 414

TOTAL 5238

OUR BATTLE CASUALTIES

KIA 14
DOW 3
WIA 51
POW 2

TOTAL 70

Wed 26 Sept

YONG DANG, NORTH KOREA. Left flank position 1 Comwel
Div with 1 US Marine Div on our left. Area 1 overlooking the
Samechon Valley

1 RAR moved into this position on 25/26 Sept 52. The position is
regarded as a “rest” or “quiet” area with only one company (B Coy 1
RAR) disposed in a part defensive role. We remain under command of
28 Britcom Inf Bde.

Wed 10 Oc 1 RAR celebrated quietly our 7th Anniversary. (Such is recorded in the
War Diary although later there seems to be doubt and it is thought that
the battalion anniversary is 12 Oct – the 65 Aust Inf Bn (from which we
originated) being formed at MOROTAI on 12 Oct 45 according to
LtCol RH MARSON DSO (deceased) our original CO).

Sat 20 Oc

LtCol M. (“Bunny”) AUSTIN assumed command of 1RAR. LtCol
HUTCHISON now to act as Adm Comd of 28 Britcom Inf Bde vice
Brig T. DALY on leave wef 21 Oct 52.

Sat 27 Oct

A US Marine fighter-bomber hit by enemy ground fire crashed into
forward positions of A Coy 1 RAR – pilot KIA.

There was a little wiring on the “LOZENGE” feature in this period – the
covering position for Line KANSAS (Area 8).

Fri 30 Oct

1 R22nd R (Royal 22nd Canadian Reg-(VAN DOOS”) relieved 1 RAR
in this position.

In this position we were not involved in patrolling other than normal
standing patrols, we had NO enemy contacts, were not subjected to
enemy artillery or small arms fire and suffered NO casualties.
Preparations underway to relieve 1 RCR (Royal Canadian Regt) on Hill
355 – “LITTLE GIBRALTAR” by 1 Nov 52. We could hear 1 RCR
being shelled by heavy enemy fire and learnt that the Chinese attacked
355 in strength on 23/24 Oct 52.

Tue 1 Nov

– KOWANG-SAN, HILL 355 (LITTLE GIBRALTAR) DIV VITAL
Sat 29 Dec GROUND. RIGHT FLANK BATTALION POSITION WITH 15 ROK REGT OF 1 ROK DIV (THE ELITE “CAPITOL” DIV) ON OUR
RIGHT AND 3 RAR ON OUR LEFT. STILL UNDER COMMAND 28
BRITCOM INF BDE.

Tue 1 Nov

At 2130 hrs 1 RAR relieved 1RCR on 355. The nights
were freezing here in Korea’s mid winter with temperatures at night well
below 0° to 16°below – the winds from the Manchurian-Mongolian
steppes hitting the high exposed position on the heights of 355. (A copy
of 1 RCR’s handover to 1 RAR is included in this paper extracted from
our War Diary courtesy of the AWM).

Wed 7 Nov

Snow fell for the first time this winter leaving a 3 inch blanket over the
area. Intense patrolling was undertaken to regain supremacy of the real estate to our front. Minefield traces received from 1 RCR showed inaccuracies of location and gaps in them. All sub units were also involved in the repair of defensive works following the enemy’s artillery barrages in support of an estimated regimental on 1 RCR in late Oct 52.

Tue 13 Nov

Lt John L. SEATON of B Coy was KIA when his patrol made enemy
contact.

Sat 17 Nov

One of our standing patrols clashed with an enemy patrol resulting in our casualties of 3 KIA, 1 MIA and 4 WIA. 5 enemy KIA actual body count.

Tue 11 Dec

A company-sized attack on enemy positions 2-3 kilometers to the north of our position was led by OC B Coy 1 RAR – Major (Joe) MANN. The B
Coy Op codenamed “FAUNA” did NOT return with a PW. Our casualties
were 2 MIA and 22 WIA. On 12 Dec 52, Pte YOUNG (MIA from
“FAUNA”) returned with D Coy 1 RAR patrol.

Sat 22 Dec

Brig DALY (Commander 28 Britcom Inf Bde) had his slouch hat hoisted
atop Hill 355 – other defenders usually hoisted their unit/regimental flags.

Mon 24 Dec

Despite 1 RAR’s agressive patrolling, our minefield wire-checking parties
early this morning discovered enemy (Chinese) propaganda material –
banners, stockingette bags with Christmas cards, diaries, jade charms,
safe conduct passes etc.. left hanging on our forward wire by the enemy
during the night. Enemy also broadcast assorted music (?) saying they
knew we were Australians and telling us to go home to our loved ones
etc.. True to their earlier statement they did NOT engage our positions
with small arm or artillery fire during Christmas Day.

Sat 29 Dec

At 0430 hrs 3 RAR relieved 1RAR on Hill 355.

A copy of 1 RAR INTREP NO 58 dated 31 Dec 52 (included in this
paper) showed that 1 RAR conducted a total of 242 patrols whilst in this
position – not included were additional tasks undertaken by Aslt Pnr P1
and Int Sec re minefields and wire.

Enemy Artillery Activity in our area

Shells 1124
Mortar Bombs 1523
Unidentified 845
Total 3492

Our Battle Casualties
KIA 18
WIA 74
MIA 3
TOTAL 95

Sun 30 Dec

52 – MISAN-MYON (AREA 6) LINE WYOMING. UNDER COMMAND
BRITCOM INF BDE

Sun 30 Dec

1 RAR re-deployed in rest position. Worked at familiarisation in its counter attack role on hill 355. Also digging in Area 15 and engaged in general “make ­and mend”.

Tue 1 Jan

53 1 Comwel Div Artillery made a noisy event at midnight heralding in the New Year by firing a special “HATE” on enemy positions on our front.

Wed 30 Jan

9 Bn THAILAND of 34 Regt, 2 US INF DIV relieved 1 RAR ` in Area 6 (this position).

NO casualties and NO enemy shelling

RECUPERATION AND RELIEF

Wed 30 Jan

TONG DU CHON – NI, SOUTH KOREA.
CAMP CASEY NON-OPERATIONAL REST AREA

1 RAR joined the remainder of 28 Britcom Inf Bde and 1 Comwel Div at
Camp Casey. This is the first occasion that 1 Comwel Div has been “out of the line”.

The battalion set about conducting NCO Cadres, re­kitting, resting, winding up leave to Japan, drilling, preparing for our relief by 2 RAR whose advance party arrived in Camp Casey on Mon 25 Feb 53. 1 RAR personnel whose tour of duty in Korea was not complete were transferred to 2 RAR.

Thu 21 Mar

1 RAR’s flag was lowered for the last time in KOREA and 2 RAR’s raised
in lieu signifying our relief. This was also the first occasion that all three
battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment had been together since
formation. The last occasion that the three had paraded together was in the BCOF days as 65, 66 and 67 Aust Inf Bns of 34 Aust Inf Bde in Hiro,
JAPAN. (It is significant that the three battalions have NOT yet
paraded together in AUSTRALIA….)

1 RAR then moved to TOKCHONG and entrained for PUSAN leaving at
1100 hrs.

GOING HOME

Fri 22 Mar

1 RAR arrive PUSAN, SOUTH KOREA at 0600 hrs to SEAFORTH
Camp.

Sat 23 Mar

We proceeded at 1400 hrs by MT to TANGOK UN WAR CEMETERY
for a Memorial Services for our Dead (32 KIA and 5 DOW according to
battle Casualty Table in 1 RAR War Diaries held at the Australian War
Museum, CANBERRA) where crosses were identified by Garter Blue with Black ribbons for 1 RAR, and Green with Black ribbons for 3 RAR (many of whom had originally served with 1 RAR).

Sun 24 Mar

At 0915 hrs 1 RAR moved to Pier 1 PUSAN Wharf and embarked on “NEW AUSTRALIA” which sailed for KURE, JAPAN at 1545hrs en route
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.

Tue 26 Mar

Having berthed yesterday at KURE, JAPAN we departed at first light and Arrived at Circular Quay Sydney on 9 April 1953.